When it comes to games, this generation has a clear winner in Sony’s machine.
Every year, the PS4 gets at least one exclusive that’s miles ahead of the competition. So, since we’re coming towards the end of the generation, we thought it was time to look back on the very best PS4 exclusives you can play now.
So grab your axe, strap on your web shooters, and offer up your blood echoes – here are the very best PS4 exclusives. If you’d rather watch than read, there’s also now a video version below.
For my money, this is FromSoftware’s best game. Bloodborne takes the Dark Souls formula and transfers it to a Lovecraftian nightmare where you stalk cobbled streets and battle horrors from another world.
Where the Souls games are about cycles of death and rebirth, Bloodborne – as the name suggests – is obsessed with the crimson stuff. Every slice of your blade sees the cobbles become slick with claret, and your Victorian-era hunter’s garb is drenched by the end of each encounter.
Bloodborne isn’t a button mashing action game. Your attacks must be deliberate, your dodges must be timely, and your gun is only a means of interrupting enemy attacks so you create a window for a finishing blow. Still, it’s much faster paced than the Souls games, so you need to combine that mindset with sharp reflexes to survive this ordeal. If you can push on, this is the most rewarding experience on PS4.
Alternative multiplatform game: Dark Souls
On the surface, Marvel’s Spider-Man looks like any other open world game. There are towers that unlock the map, as well as side missions and random events in the world that repeat themselves. But the way you move through Manhattan is transformative.
When you’re tumbling, swinging, and zipping across the city, nothing feels like a chore. Spider-Man’s web swinging turns everyone into a completionist.
Spider-Man appears to be made up from borrowed parts of other games – even the combat looks straight out of Batman: Arkham – but the superhero’s quirks give everything a fresh feel.
While fights are built around attacking and dodging, Spider-Man is as comfortable tussling in the air as he is on the ground – he slips, flips, and quips – and tactical deployment of your gadgets can quickly take enemies out of the fight by webbing them to the environment. And what an environment it is.
Manhattan is gorgeously rendered. Whether you are sprinting up a skyscraper with the sun in your face or walking along at street level, the world is crammed with detail even on the granular level. It’s the best Spider-Man game there’s ever been. Insomniac’s crowning achievement.
Alternative multiplatform game: Batman: Arkham Knight
God of War
Kratos is back, hiding out in the land of Norse myth with his son. Most game series that get a ‘mature’ reboot simply dial up the violence and the swears, but God of War dials things back. Just a little… not enough that it loses its identity.
God of War is a character study in how having a child changes a person, and you can see that responsibility weighing on Kratos throughout his debut PS4 adventure. His actions in the previous games – his quest for revenge – brought about devastating calamities. He doesn’t want to transfer that gung-ho personality trait to his son, Atreus, but he also doesn’t want to coddle him in this harsh, violent world.
Mechanically, it’s similar to the old games. You are either murdering creatures and gods, clambering up walls, or solving puzzles. The main difference here is the camera, which is pulled in close to our hero and controlled by the player, unlike the fixed cameras of yore.
You also start out with a magical axe that can be thrown and recalled like Thor’s hammer. It’s one of the most satisfyingly chunky weapon interactions in any game ever. Not only is this one of the best games on PS4, it’s one of the best games of the generation.
Alternative multiplatform game: Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
Until Dawn is playable teen horror. A group of friends head off to a cabin retreat to honour a recently deceased pal. As you’d expect, things don’t go as planned.
It’s a QTE-heavy, story-based game where every character can die a horrible death. If they do die, the story just moves on without them. That ever-present threat of death manages to do the impossible: make button prompts feel meaningful.
Every choice you make has some kind of impact, and it makes your story feel personal, even if you find you hate some of the characters. The fact you do hate some of the characters is another thing that makes this stand out, though – these are actual characters, rather than just blank slates you project your own personality onto.
Until Dawn places you in the director’s seat and tasks you with keeping your cast alive as long as possible.
Alternative multiplatform game: There isn’t one, sorry.
Ratchet & Clank
This is as close to playable Pixar as you can get. Honestly, play it and you’ll see. In motion, it’s a hell of a thing. Every environment is full of life: futuristic skyscrapers line up in the distance, frogs hop along the ground, grass sways in the wind, and flying cars zip along some invisible highway in the sky. It’s like eye drugs. Eye drugs are a thing, right?
Ratchet & Clank is essentially an old-school 3D platformer with less of a focus on platforming and more focus on shooting and smashing things into tiny pieces before hooving up the goodies that spill out.
Ratchet & Clank is a remake of the PS2 platformer, but it feels like something completely new. It was created to release alongside the movie – which by all accounts isn’t that great – making this one of the only essential movie tie-in games in existence.
Alternative multiplatform game: Yooka-Laylee
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
If you want to see exactly what the PS4 is capable of, you play a Naughty Dog game on it. Uncharted 4 isn’t just the best looking game on PS4, it’s better looking than most PC games.
In the final chapter of Nathan Drake’s story, he’s getting sentimental. We get a real look into his past, and we see a different side to the wisecracking treasure hunter. He’s attempting to live a normal life – well, if diving for salvage as a job is considered ‘normal’ – but the itch for adventure is still nipping away at him.
Of course, stuff happens and he ends up going on one last job, pulling those close to him into danger once more. Uncharted has always been a fairly linear series, but Uncharted 4 opens its world up a little, making it feel more like a journey. Driving across Africa in a jeep will be etched into my memory forever.
Alternative multiplatform game: Shadow of the Tomb Raider
One of the best JRPGs of the last few years, Persona 5 is a blend of social metagame, dungeon crawling, stat building, and jazz. It also has more style than a catwalk model nailing a savage rank in Devil May Cry.
When you’re not sneaking and fighting through some of the most inventive JRPG dungeons in existence, you’re exploring Tokyo – it’s completely up to you how you divide up your time. Each dungeon must be completed in a set amount of days, but you can do weights, meet friends, watch movies, shop, and take part in eating competitions in the meantime.
Building up your connection with your allies here is just as important as battling enemies. Persona 5’s strange pacing and the story’s heavy, adult themes make it a memorable adventure.
Alternative multiplatform game: Ni no Kuni 2
The Last Guardian
The Last Guardian is a weird game. Is it fun? Not really. Is it powerful? Yes. Long after the credits roll, you’ll still be turning the final act over in your head, which makes some of the earlier sections – some of which are a slog – feel worth it.
You play as a young boy who’s been captured in an ancient, towering ruin. After saving a giant bird/cat/rat/thing from the very same prison, the two head out into this strange land to try find a way out.
The creature, Trico, is one of the most convincing animals I’ve ever seen in a game. You never directly control the massive beast, you just shout commands. Sometimes it does them, sometimes it just walks off in the wrong direction. Occasionally, it accidentally murders you.
At times, The Last Guardian feels like it’s purposely hostile to its players, but it has a dedication to its themes tying to its systems that I think is commendable. And, most importantly, it all pays off in the end. Bring some tissues, though.
Alternative multiplatform game: Nope
Horizon Zero Dawn
I’ve never been a fan of the Killzone games, so I have to admit I was sceptical when Guerilla announced it was working on an open-world RPG. All my concerns were unfounded, however. Horizon Zero Dawn just shows what can happen when a studio is freed up to work on something completely different.
Horizon Zero Dawn is set in a world afraid of technology. Some mistake in the past has led to the landscape being filled with aggressive, robotic dinosaurs, and the people have reverted to the old ways as a result.
You play as Aloy, a young tribeswoman who decides to look for answers out in the big wide world, occasionally taking out robotic giants with a tech-infused bow and arrow as she goes. Not only is this a great game, it’s a showcase of how far the PS4 can go visually.
Alternative multiplatform game: The Witcher 3